Afghan Christians are holding on to their sole hope after all earthly help has been stripped away from them. "Only Emmanuel is left: Jesus with us" is their cry.
Open Doors hopes that the global Church will unite and be present in prayer for people suffering from war and bloodshed, something that would give Afghans, especially Christians and other minorities, strength and courage.
Men, women, and children have reportedly flocked to the gates of Kabul Airport, asking to be let leave this week. This was where circumstances were "horrifying," as described in the persecution watchdog's Prayer Update from August 27th.
As review, in a single suicide bombing on Thursday last week, a total of 85 people were murdered. It happened at a gate to the airport, where the device went off. Experts now conclude that what had originally been thought to be two separate bomb attacks was in fact simply one device.
The explosions resulted in the deaths of 72 Afghans, including 28 Taliban militants, as well as 13 soldiers from the United States military.
Those responsible for the assaults were members of the Islamic State of Khorasan (ISIS-K), a faction that has ties to the Islamic State organization.
Open Doors noted that the most recent attack came after the Taliban allegedly conducted house-to-house searches in Kabul, where they sought individuals they thought might threaten their brutal Islamist rule.
The current government is conducting a hunt for any Afghans who cooperated with the West, particularly teachers, LGBTQ+ citizens, and non-Muslims. Christians, in particular, are under imminent threat.
According to Open Doors communications director for Asia, Jan Vermeer, Christians in Afghanistan feel betrayed by their international allies who abandoned them at the mercy of Taliban rule.
They expected this day to arrive eventually, so they were at least mentally ready for it, but it doesn't reduce the agony it causes.
"Everybody is afraid, and Christians are responding differently," adds Vermeer. "Some are trying to escape the country-or have already fled-while others have decided to stay and remain secret believers. Some want to escape but can't. Some don't know what to do."
Vermeer's comments were echoed by a local source. Because of security concerns, the source cannot be identified or their location disclosed; nevertheless, they are in the area and are fully aware of the difficulties that Christians and non-Christians alike are experiencing in Afghanistan.
In terms of imminent attacks, the local insider said that "it's not a matter of if, but when, and when it comes, we are almost never ready to contend with what's before our eyes."
According to the insider, there will undoubtedly be some who are immobilized by terror, as well as others who will submit. Nonetheless, there will always be some among them who have studied, whose understandings have been broadened, and whose perspective has been changed as a result of their experiences.
Thus, the insider said that they will be looking for "pathways, solutions, roots to pursue and to do things differently."
"We will challenge the status quo and fight for that for which not only Westerners, but also our own parents and grandparents, gave their lives to. The right to learn, the right to be, the freedom to dream and the freedom to worship; that's what we will be battling for. Please stand with us in solidarity," the insider added.
Now, the only thing that believers who have been abandoned seek is prayer. To be precise, prayers on their behalf.
"Only Emmanuel is left: Jesus with us."
The return of Sharia law
According to the Taliban leader, Waheedullah Hashimi, who spoke to Reuters, Afghanistan will not be a democracy if the Taliban come to power and their goal is to impose Shariah law, not create new legislation.
"There will be no democratic system at all because it does not have any base in our country," he told Reuters. "We will not discuss what type of political system should we apply in Afghanistan because it is clear. It is Shariah law and that is it."
Consequently, Open Doors highlighted the terrifying history of the Taliban during its harsh reign in the 1990s, which included severe restrictions against women and gruesome penalties for non-Muslims, including those who converted to Christianity.
Hamid, a local citizen, expressed his concern in an interview with CBN that the Taliban would slaughter the Christian community.
Chaos and a general unease have gripped Afghanistan.
Human rights advocates and organizations dedicated to helping persecuted Afghan civilians are still advocating for the intervention of the international community, including asking for people to pray.